Monday, June 30, 2008

Driving Through the Cornbelt

Ian has a week-long church youth group thingy called "Especially for Youth" (a.k.a. EFY) down in Normal, Illinois. Three hours a few minutes of Interstate 39 going down. I dropped off the boy, he was already chatting with a really nice young man from Texas and a cute girl from Milwaukee, so I felt safe in leaving him in the hands of the counselors.

Once the boy was offloaded, I consulted the GPS. I really did not want to face more Interstate, so I programmed the GPS to give the best route home if I were on a bicycle. It worked okay.

Carlock to Congerville. Goodfield to Eureka to Washburn. LaRose, Varna, Magnolia, McNabb. Spring Valley, Ladd, Cherry, Arlington, Lamoille. So on through the corn belt, past crumbly towns and old grain elevators. Past historic markers (there was a huge coal mine disaster in Cherry, casualties numbered 268 in a town of 500). Past very small rivers that are begging for a paddle (I was sans canot).

I stopped in Arlington because I spotted an old grain elevator next to an abandoned railroad spur. The structure was clearly abandoned as well, even though there was still a huge mound of corn rotting in one of the passageways which was weird. It was a really cool structure...totally unsafe, but cool anyway. Lots of weathered corrugated tin and such. I did find a small piece of tin and I have an art project in mind for it.

I also found a huge pile of railroad spikes, maybe 40 of them, and judging from the head of the spike, they had never been driven into a tie. I can only conjecture someone was sent to repair the spur, dropped the box of spikes and went home to dinner, and then abandoned the job. It's a buttload of steel, and I am already dreaming of ways to use them.

Total time home: 4 hours, 25 minutes, including all stops. I think I like this method of travel.

*Now listen up, folks. Normal, Illinois has suffered enough already. There are no statements, jokes, jests, barbs or other attempts at humor surrounding Normal that have not been sufficiently beaten to death. You cannot come up with anything new or clever. To wit, I am not going to say anything, and neither are you. Claro?


Brad Werntz said...

So, can we consider your final comment to be the Normal warning?

canoelover said...

Yes. :-)